Dead, Over 20 Injured In Blast Outside Chemical Factory In China

Dead, Over 20 Injured In Blast Outside Chemical Factory In China

Dead, Over 20 Injured In Blast Outside Chemical Factory In China

Photo taken on November 28, 2018 shows the blast site near Shenghua chemical plant in Zhangjiakou City, north China's Hebei Province.

A video of the blast scene shared by state media showed billowing black smoke and flames, while photographs showed rows of burnt-out cars and trucks lining the streets on Wednesday morning.

Another 22 people were injured and 38 trucks and 12 passenger cars were destroyed by fire, the statement from the Zhangjiakou city government said.

The cause of the blast remains under investigation.

Investigators suspect a truck carrying the highly flammable compound ethane for use by a separate nearby chemical factory exploded as it was passing the Shenghua plant, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Rescue efforts and the investigation are still underway, Xinhua said.

The department's statement did not clarify whether the explosion occurred in the factory or outside.

Other products made at the plant include PVC resins, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, oxygen, chlorine, dissolved acetylene, coated kettle agent, water treatment chemicals and new building materials, according to the company website.

Zhangjiakou, about 156 km (96 miles) northwest of Beijing, is set to host the 2022 Winter Olympics along with the capital.

Industrial safety remains a major concern in China, where requirements for the storage and transport of chemicals and other risky products are often not strongly enforced.

Industrial accidents are not uncommon in China, where safety regulations are not always rigorously enforced.

An explosion in 2015 traced to improperly stored chemicals killed at least 173 people in Tianjin, about an hour east of Beijing.

The explosions caused more than US$1 billion (RM4.19 billion) in damage and sparked widespread anger at a perceived lack of transparency over the accident's causes and its environmental impact.

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